Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The Holocaust As History
By Timothy Snyder
OVERVIEW: In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the twentieth century, and reveals the risks that we face in the twenty-first. Based on untapped sources from eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think, and thus all the more terrifying.
AUTHOR: TIMOTHY SNYDER is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is the author of author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which received the literature award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hannah Arendt Prize, and the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. Snyder is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and the times Literary Supplement. He is a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences, serves as the faculty adviser for the Fortunoff Archive for Holocaust testimonies, and sits on the advisory council of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
MY REVIEW: This was a difficult book for me to read and comprehend. In fact, I found myself reading for awhile and then having to stop, go back and re-read many pages. I felt like I was studying for a PhD. I was constantly pulling down my dictionary and looking up the meaning of words. Historians, educators, some philosophers and theologians may not find this book so difficult. I'm writing this way simply as a warning to the average reader. I agree with Deborah Lipstadt, "Black Earth is provocative, challenging, and an important addition to our understanding of the Holocaust."
Jeffrey Goldberg said, "Timothy Snyder argues, eloquently and convincingly, that the world is still susceptible to the inhuman impulses that brought about the Final Solution. This book should be read as admonition by presidents, prime ministers, and in particular by anyone who believes the the past is somehow behind us." I agree with Anne Applebaum, "In this unusual and innovative book, Timothy Snyder takes a fresh look at the intellectual origins of the Holocaust, placing Hitler's genocide firmly in the politics and diplomacy of 1930's Europe. Black Earth is required reading for anyone who cares about this difficult period of history."
(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)